Hurricanes’ crease gets less crowded as Darling is waived

Getty Images
5 Comments

Scott Darling‘s time with the Carolina Hurricanes appears to be coming to an end with the news that the team has placed the 29-year-old goaltender on waivers. Should be clear on Friday he’ll be assigned to the team’s AHL affiliate in Charlotte.

“For us to carry an extra goalie right now is fine, and I think it will sort itself out in the near future,” were the words from Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell earlier this month when asked about the team’s three-goalie situation after Darling returned from injury and the team claimed Curtis McElhinney on waivers.

Darling has posted an .893 even strength save percentage in seven starts this season, the third-worst number in the NHL among goaltenders with at least seven appearances. As the Hurricanes have played their way into an Eastern Conference Wild Card spot, it’s been thanks to the play of McElhinney (.942 ESSV%) and Petr Mrazek (.920).

“We milked that for as long as we could, just to be fair to everybody,” said Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour. “Having three just doesn’t set up very well. It’s hard to practice and hard for them to get their reps.”

There was a lot of promise in Carolina when the Hurricanes acquired Darling’s negotiating rights from the Chicago Blackhawks in May 2017 and then signed him a four-year, $16.6 million deal. It looked like a major hole had been filled, but that wasn’t the case last season. In 43 appearances he recorded a .897 ESSV% and ended up splitting time with Cam Ward, which wasn’t the plan when they signed Darling.

It’s hard to imagine a team– no, not the Philadelphia Flyers — claiming Darling and taking on the remaining term and money owed to him. The team invested in him heavily and now he needs to go find his game again.

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

————

Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.